I have decided to provide a betting preview on the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament game between Iona and St. Peter’s as it provides a stark contrast in playing styles. Iona’s success is predicated upon offense, whereas the Peacocks’ 19-12 record is based upon defense.
St. Peter’s is allowing just 61.5 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.7 points per game against a mediocre defense. The Peacocks are giving up a mere 61.1 points per game on the road, 60.1 points per game in conference play and 55.4 points over their last five contests.
The Peacocks rank 8th in the nation in scoring defense, 73rd in field goal percentage defense (41.8) and 26th in personal fouls per game (16.2). St. Peter’s is limiting conference foes to 40.4% shooting from the field this season, including 37.7% over its last five games.
Iona enters the MAAC semifinals with an explosive attack that is averaging 80.5 points per game on 39.9% shooting from beyond the arc. The Gaels are averaging 83.2 points per game in conference action (46.6% FG%; 42.4% 3-PT%) and 82.6 points over their last five games (40.3% 3-PT%).
Overall, Iona’s offense is 6.2 points per game better than average, which is not good enough to penetrate an elite St. Peter’s defense that is 13.2 points per game better than average.
The Peacocks play at an extremely slow pace, averaging 65.7 possessions per game, ranking 346th in the country). St. Peter’s unique four-out, one-in zone offense creates opportunities for its guards to shoot a lot of three-pointers, and the Peacocks have made 38.5% of their attempts from beyond the arc this season (36th in the nation).
Iona’s defense is 2.3 points per game worse than average (76.4 points per game to teams that would combine to average 74.1 points per game). More concerning for Iona fans is the fact that it’s yielding 78.6 points per game in conference play and 78.2 points over its last five affairs.
Conference foes are shooting 38.4% from three-point territory against the Peacocks, including converting 40.2% of their three-point field goal attempts in the last five games.
This lack of perimeter defense is good news for a St. Peter’s squad that is making 40.9% of their three-pointers in MAAC play and 43.5% in their last five games.
From a technical standpoint, St. Peter’s remains grossly underrated by the betting market, winning seven straight and covering the spread in six of those affairs.
The Peacocks are 12-2 ATS on the road and 16-5 ATS in conference play this season, while also going 19-7 ATS in their last 26 games following a win and 9-2 ATS in their last eleven games versus teams with a winning record, including 6-0 ATS against .601 or greater opponents.
Finally, Iona is 0-8 ATS in its last eight games after failing to cover the point spread, whereas the Peacocks are 7-0 ATS in their last seven contests following an ATS defeat. Take St. Peter’s and invest with confidence.
Oskeim Sports’ Betting Preview & Free Pick: St. Peter’s (-2) (-110)